Standards Update (1 0f 4): Overview

Moderator, John S. Quarterman std-unix at longway.TIC.COM
Mon Jan 25 03:15:49 AEST 1988

                      Standards Update
        An update on UNIX and C Standards Activities

                      January 21, 1988

             Written for the USENIX Association
              by Shane P. McCarron, NAPS Inc.

[This report was written at the request of the Board of
Directors of the USENIX Association.  In the interests of
reducing article sizes and making followups easier to
manage, I am posting it in four parts, divided according to
the following topics:

     X3J11 and the X3.159 C Programming Language Standard
     IEEE P1003 Subcommittees


The Standards community isn't necessarily a closed entity,
but it is one that is hard to look into.  There are so many
different activities going on all over the place that it is
difficult for the most people to get involved.  I suppose
this is as it should be, since if everyone were involved,
nothing would ever get accomplished.  However, it is always
good to know what is going on at a macro level, even if the
details pass you by.

That is where this report comes in - I am going to try and
summarize what has transpired in the Unix and C standards
areas during the previous three months.  As anyone who has
been involved in a standards committee can tell you, not a
lot will happen in a quarter in any one committee, but over
several committees the cumulative effect can be daunting.

Before I start summarizing what went on in the last quarter
on 1987, I should define the scope of this report.  I am not
going to try to touch on all of the technical discussions
that go on.  These are often boring, and if you have that
level of interest, you should really be on the mailing list
for the group in question.  Instead, I am going to give an
overview of some of the key issues that were raised and the
important milestones that were reached or passed.

In addition to the activity at the December meetings of
P1003, a few other things happened that are worth noting:

   - P1003.1 Final Ballot

Overview, January 21, 1988      Shane P. McCarron, NAPS Inc.

Standards Update           - 2 -          USENIX Association

     On November 15th the P1003.1 document went out for its
     full use ballot.  The balloting period was 30 days, and
     closed around December 15th.  When ballot resolution is
     completed, the first full use standard from a 1003
     group will have been ratified.  This should be around
     March, 1988.

   - New P1003 Working Groups

     There are three new working groups under the P1003
     committee (.0, .5, and .6).  Since I haven't talked
     about all of these before, here is a list of all of the
     POSIX working groups:

               1003.0 - POSIX Guide
               1003.1 - Systems Interface
               1003.2 - Shell and Tools Interface
               1003.3 - Verification and Testing
               1003.4 - Real Time
               1003.5 - Ada Binding for POSIX
               1003.6 - Security

   - IEEE Standards Board

     At the December meeting of the IEEE Standards Board,
     the Board approved the IEEE Technical Advisory Group
     Procedures document.  This was a major event in that it
     allowed the first meeting of the United States TAG on
     POSIX to take place "in wedlock".

   - US Technical Advisory Group on POSIX

     The first meeting of the US TAG on POSIX was held in
     conjunction with the P1003 meetings in December.  A TAG
     is a group that exists in each International Standards
     Organization (OSI) member country that is interested in
     a particular ISO working group (in this case, WG15 of
     Suncommittee 22).  The TAG recommends to the ISO
     standards body for that topic in that country what the
     countries' position should be on the issue.  In this
     case the standards body is the IEEE, and the issue is
     POSIX.  In a future report, I hope to spend more time
     talking about what it means to be in the International
     Standards Organization, and how it effects POSIX.

     Since it was the first meeting, the members present
     elected a chair and secretary, and learned about what
     it means to be a TAG.  In addition to this, the TAG
     established what the US position on POSIX should be.
     Basically this boils down to "The US recommends that

Overview, January 21, 1988      Shane P. McCarron, NAPS Inc.

Standards Update           - 3 -          USENIX Association

     POSIX be accepted as a Draft Proposed Standard, but any
     changes made to the standard by IEEE P1003.1 should be
     incorporated into the ISO document."  It would be very
     bad form not to recommend our own standard :-)

Overview, January 21, 1988      Shane P. McCarron, NAPS Inc.

Volume-Number: Volume 13, Number 2

More information about the Comp.std.unix mailing list